November 4, at 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific. That's the time that the news networks should be calling the Presidential race for Obama. Polls will close at that time in 12 states, and the networks will call each state for one candidate or the other, unless the vote is very close in any given state.
Here's an approximation of what the electoral map will look like at that time:
Obama 286, McCain 145
An early election night victory for Obama may cause big problems for Republicans in the West (as if they didn't have enough troubles already).
A famous anecdote tells that in 1980, when the networks awarded the Presidency to Ronald Reagan early in the evening, disgusted Democrats in California actually got out of line to vote and went home. This of course had a devastating effect on Democrats in races down the ballot. Republicans may experience the same phenomenon this year if Obama is declared the next President while the polls are still open in eleven western states. I, for one, will not be sorry for them.